Where Is Alsace?

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| By : Christine
I’m a retired 65 years old and I live in western Paris. Born in Alsace, I have always lived in this beautiful region of eastern France. Passionate about travel, culture and literature. Find me on Linkedin.

Where is Alsace in some quick Questions/Answers, straight to the point !

Or… How can I tell you all about my native region?


Read also: My 13 Best Cafes In Strasbourg (France)

Where Is Alsace ? My complete answer

1. Is Alsace in France or Germany?

Alsace is a region in northeastern France.

It’s a French region that shares a border with Germany.

Historically, it has switched hands between France and Germany multiple times, but since the end of World War II, it has remained a part of France.

2. What language do they speak in Alsace?

In Alsace, the predominant language spoken is French, as it is part of France.

The region also has a strong linguistic heritage of Alsatian, a Germanic dialect closely related to Swabian and Alemannic German.

Many Alsatians are bilingual, especially in rural areas and among older generations.

3. Why is Alsace famous?

Alsace is famous for several reasons:

  • Wine:

Alsace produces some of the world’s most renowned white wines, especially Riesling and Gewürztraminer.

A selection of Alsace’s wine

Its wine route, “Route des Vins d’Alsace,” attracts many tourists.

  • Cuisine:

Alsatian cuisine, a blend of German and French traditions, is known for dishes like choucroute (sauerkraut) and tarte flambée (flammekueche).

  • Architecture:

Its towns and cities, like Strasbourg and Colmar, feature half-timbered houses and picturesque canals, showcasing a blend of Germanic and French architectural styles.

A photo of Turckheim, a pretty Alsatian village on the wine route with beautiful half-timbered houses
  • Cultural Festivals:

Celebrations like the Christmas markets in Strasbourg are famous throughout Europe.

Source: wikimedia commons
  • History:

Alsace has been a strategic and contested region, switching hands between France and Germany, which has left a unique cultural imprint.

  • Europeans Institutions:

Strasbourg hosts the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, highlighting the region’s importance in European affairs.

4. Is Alsace culturally German?

In my mind, Alsace possesses a unique cultural identity.

That’s a blend of both French and German influences due to its history of changing sovereignty between the two nations.

Elements of its culture are undoubtedly Germanic, but it’s an oversimplification to label it entirely as “culturally German.”

  • Language:

The Alsatian dialect is a Germanic language closely related to Swabian and Alemannic German.

A group in traditional costumes sing in Alsatian

But French is the predominant language in official and daily use.

  • Architecture:

Towns like Strasbourg and Colmar display half-timbered houses, a style common in both the Rhineland of Germany and in Alsace.

  • Cuisine:

Alsatian food, like choucroute garnie (sauerkraut with meats) and tarte flambée (similar to a thin-crust pizza), show Germanic influences.

  • Traditions:

Some Alsatian traditions and festivals share similarities with those in neighboring German regions.

  • Religion:

Like much of southern Germany, Alsace has a significant Protestant population, particularly Lutheran, alongside its Catholic majority.

The Protestant Reformation left a substantial mark here.

For me, it’s essential to recognize Alsace’s distinctiveness and the synthesis of both French and German elements in its cultural fabric.

5. How Far Is Strasbourg From Paris?

Strasbourg is about 480 km from Paris :

  • About 5 hours by car (480 km)
  • 7 hours by bus
  • 2h20 by train (TGV)

PS : from center of Paris to center of Strasbourg.

Alsace Map


The Region Of Alsace In Details

  • Area: 8,280 km²

For comparison, it’s roughly equivalent to the combined areas of the U.S. states of Rhode Island and Delaware.

  • Population: 1.9 million
Source : Insee, population censuses 2008, 2013 et 2019.

INSEE, which stands for “Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques” is the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies in France. It is the French government’s official statistical agency.

  • 2 Departments: Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin
  • Major Cities: Strasbourg (capital or prefecture), Mulhouse, Colmar, Haguenau, Sélestat, Saint-Louis…
  • Top things to do in Alsace: Strasbourg Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg), Petite France, the historic quarter of Strasbourg, Alsatian Wine Route, Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle, Unterlinden Museum in Colmar, Parc de l’Orangerie in Strasbourg, Mulhouse’s Cité de l’Automobile and Cité du Train
National Automobile Museum in Mulhouse, Alsace
  • Alsace dishes: Choucroute garnie (sauerkraut with meats), Tarte flambée (flammekueche), Munster cheese, Baeckeoffe (a meat and potato casserole), Spaetzle (a type of noodle), Gewürztraminer, Riesling (white wines), Kougelhopf (a yeasty cake with raisins and almonds), Bretzel (pretzel), Mirabelle plum brandy…etc

One of my friends is preparing a “flammenkueche” on his terrace

Alsace Weather : semi-continental climate

Alsace enjoys a semi-continental climate, due to its location between the Vosges Mountains and the Rhine River.

The semi-continental climate also generates:

  • Precipitation mainly in spring and summer, with the Vosges Mountains acting as a barrier, leading to reduced rainfall on the Alsace plain.
  • A relatively larger temperature range compared to coastal regions, with hotter summers and colder winters.

Winter in Alsace

Winter is characterized by cold conditions, sometimes with significant snowfall, especially in the Vosges.

An Alsatian landscape near the Vosges mountains in winter

The influence of continental air masses from Eastern Europe can lead to periods of frost and occasionally sub-zero temperatures.

Summer in Alsace

Summer can be warm to hot, with occasional heatwaves influenced by southern or southeastern air flows.

Nights usually remain cool, providing relief.

There is also the potential for thunderstorms, particularly after hot spells.

Seasonality of precipitation (rain)

umbrothermal diagram in Strasbourg – source: climate-data.org

The Ultimate Guide To Visit Alsace

Are you planning a trip in Alsace?

Please read all our tour guides about Alsace, a wonderful region of France with a lot of things to do :


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